A SINCERE THANK YOU TO OUR P&F
As many would be aware, last Friday we celebrated World Teachers' Day. Here at St Andrews, in recognising wholeheartedly that it is the non-teaching staff who also create and promote an environment for great opportunities for students, we bookmark the event as World Staff Day. How delightful it was that the St Andrews P&F kicked off our day by hosting a breakfast for staff, including “real” coffees. This act, acknowledging the authentic endeavours of all staff, let us know that we are valued and appreciated. So, on behalf of many, a big thank you to the P&F.
On a “bigger” scale, quite literally, we also acknowledge and give thanks to the P&F for their contribution of $175 000 towards the re-development of the lower carpark, which will take place over the December-January period. Whilst the most significant objective of the P&F is to friend-raise and build community, it is wonderful to see hard-earned income being devoted to projects which benefit all members of our College community – students, families and staff.
THE SCIENCE OF MOTIVATION
If students aren't motivated, learning won't happen. What’s going on in children’s brains when they’re motivated, and what’s holding them back? There are two types of motivation: approach motivation, which directs us toward a reward, and avoidance motivation, which helps us to avoid damage. Ideally, they balance each other out. Caring adults can help students develop the motivation systems that will serve them well, long into adulthood.
HOW TO BUILD HEALTHY MOTIVATION IN YOUR CHILDREN
Encourage curiosity and exploration. Beyond their basic needs, children are motivated by exploration, play, mastery and success. Parents can reinforce these motivations rather than being overly fearful that children will get hurt — fears that can rub off. Caring adults whom children can trust can help them figure out what to actually be afraid of and avoid.
Don’t rely on incentives. The goal is to help kids develop their own inner fire to learn. Children can stop engaging in activities once they’ve been given a tangible reward for it. Systems focused solely on external rewards and punishments are unlikely to achieve sustained, productive motivation. Positive feedback is more likely to support healthy motivation.
Remind children that success is possible. We’re unlikely to be motivated to do anything if we think it’s impossible. A growth mindset — the belief that we can change and improve through practice— enables children to get motivated.
Social interaction. From babies to adolescents, social interaction is key to motivation, releasing natural opioids that activate the brain’s reward system. In our digital world, apps and screens can be supplements for learning, but in-person interactions remain essential.
Remember we all have different intrinsic motivators. A child intrinsically motivated to play sports might respond well to constructive criticism from a coach but another student might respond more to encouragement and get discouraged by criticism. These different motivation systems may be due to children's genes and their life experiences, and they might require different approaches to motivate them.
Despite the common misperception that some people naturally have or lack motivation, science shows that the nature of parent/child relationships and opportunities for safe exploration affect the development of these systems — for better or for worse.